Cover Image: The Creep

The Creep

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Member Reviews

The Creep, by Michael LaPointe, is a unique and captivating story!
New York City journalist Whitney Chase has a history of embellishing the facts to enhance a story. Shortly after 9/11 she yearns to transition from writing about celebrities to covering stories that really matter.
Whitney falls upon a potentially monumental story about a dynamic medical discovery. The perfect story that will enhance her coverage and help her to become a respected reporter. But while researching this feasible medical miracle she quickly discovers a trail of gruesome deaths across the country, and becomes unquestionably tied to a much darker and heinous story.
What will Whitney do?
Michael LaPointe's captivating debut novel explores how deceitfulness and lies can be implanted to produce fact (false news) in turn destroying public trust.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an arc of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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When we first meet Whitney she's being interviewed for an article in a magazine.  Whitney tells her story in flashbacks to when she had been a writer for a glossy type magazine that focuses on in-depth stories.  While working at the magazine, Whitney is invited by a friend to go skiing in Colorado (a friend with benefits).  She arrives to find his mother is in the hospital recovering after being attacked by a dog and Whitney agrees to go visit/meet her.  The doctor talks about the severity of the injury to her neck and the amount of blood lost.  Whitney eventually finds out that the mom is part of a medical research project and has been given an experimental blood transfusion that has saved her life.  Whitney thinks this would make a great story for her magazine, she meets up with the doctor in charge of the research project and meets a few people who have also had the blood transfusion.  As a parallel plot we find out that Whitney has a compulsion to (what she calls) 'creep'  when writing articles.  The Creep is when she embellishes or outright falsifies details in a story to make the story more interesting.  The investigation and her compulsion to creep meet in a very tragic moment that provides a fitting end to the story.  Overall there were some points when the story dragged a bit, but mostly I was engaged.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Thank you, NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada, for an advance electronic copy of 'The Creep' in return for an honest review. I regret that this book was not for me, but many readers may enjoy it and should not be deterred by my misgivings. The concept seemed very promising and is relevant in these days of conspiracies and 'false news' presented as fact. Some people today are reluctant to be vaccinated and are worried about the side effects and effectiveness of vaccines and seek out rumours. 

 I was drawn to the premise and book's summary but felt it contained many unnecessary fillers and digressions to sustain its momentum and suspense. 

 The main character is Whitney Chase, a reporter for a prestigious New York magazine. The time is shortly after the destruction of the World Trade Centre and before the invasion of Iraq due to purported Weapons of Mass Destruction. Print magazines are in decline due to internet journalism. Whitney longs to participate in covering important news stories. She has tended to fabricate for most of her life, an obsession she calls "The Creep." Since most of her assignments have been fluff pieces, articles where she has interviewed and written about celebrities, her embellishments and untruths have gone unnoticed or haven't interfered with her work. Now she has the opportunity to cover and break a serious, important news story and is determined to stick to the truth. She will do anything to keep lies inserted into her previous stories covered up. I mean anything!

 I found Whitney to be both rude and crude. I felt I did not need to read about when she went to a bar or had a drink.  Being old-fashioned, I thought the sex scenes unpleasant and offputting. Fortunately, they were few and far between. 

  When she learns that a pharmaceutical company is on the verge of a major medical breakthrough, she is determined to break the news. It is a blood replacement serum that will save countless lives and make billions for its developers and backers. She makes a friend within the company, a brilliant female scientist close to releasing the product. Whitney has few friends and is unduly influenced by this woman.

 Gradually she learns of the ghastly, grotesque side effects on the experimental subjects. These subjects were badly injured, homeless people picked up on the streets of a nearby slum and brought to the clinic to be given the newly developed transfusion. After the treatment, they were released to the streets and written up as a proven success and cured. Whitney tries to do a follow-up but learns they have disappeared. She learns that they have died and is stunned to learn the gruesome state of the bodies at the time of death. As she rewrites her discoveries, she is placed in mortal danger. This leads to a frightening encounter, but I could not care what happened to her because I found her so unlikeable. 

 Does she write a realistic article about pharmaceutical fraud? Does her research award her with prestige in journalism?  Does she manage to expose the company publicly? This was a thought-provoking novel about deceitfulness and how it destroys public trust and wellbeing. The conclusion was unexpected.
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